Center Snapshot - Takmeng Wong
Takmeng Wong. Image above: Takmeng Wong works in the Science Directorate as a Research Physical Scientist. Credit: NASA/Sean Smith

By: Denise Lineberry

Thirty years ago, Takmeng Wong moved to the United States – without knowing any English.

Since, Wong has earned a bachelor’s degree in meteorology from Florida State University, and a master’s degree and doctorate in atmospheric science from Colorado State University.

Thirty years and three degrees later, Wong is speaking English fluently as a Research Physical Scientist in the Science Directorate.

He has been working at NASA Langley for 14 years.

“I love the working environment at NASA Langley and the scientific research projects at the Science Directorate,” Wong said. “This place is full of bright, open minded, energetic, friendly and caring people. The scientific research projects are intellectually challenging. There is never a dull moment.”

Wong was born and raised in Macao, a Portuguese colony in the southern part of China, just west of Hong Kong. “Macao was recently returned back to China after 400 years of Portuguese rule,” Wong explained.

According to Wong, the most interesting place he has lived was Colorado. “I love the majestic Rocky Mountain with its crystal clear blue sky, fresh mountain air and beautiful landscape. It is nature at its best,” he said.

Wong appreciates nature and works to uncover its mysteries.

“I think the most interesting thing about the work I do is the fact that we are trying to uncover Mother Nature’s secrets using NASA global satellite data,” Wong said. “My goal is to transform our NASA data into useful knowledge about Earth’s environment and how it is changing.”

Wong is motivated by the possible benefits of reaching that goal.

“The payoff of this knowledge can have huge societal benefits to humankind for both current and future generations,” he said.

Wong received payoff in the form of insight from his experiences in different cultures.

“Growing up in China under the eastern culture and moving to the western culture in the U.S. at a young age allowed me to gain a finer understanding of the meaning of life,” Wong said. “The world really is a very small place and one can only achieve harmony with nature through hard work, education, neutral respect and understanding.”

Wong also had a hand in progress as one of the contributing authors to the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which co-won the 2007 Nobel Peace prize with Al Gore.

Wong enjoys spending his time away from work with his family. And he explains, “I am a simple person. At the end of the day, I would like to leave behind a better place for our future generations to live in.”

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